1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C or gas mark 4.
2. Place lentils in a medium saucepan and add the stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the lentils are tender and most of the stock has been absorbed.
3. Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables:
Peel and finely chop the onions and garlic.
Chop the aubergine into 1 inch cubes.
Deseed and dice the pepper.
Chop the parsley.
4. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in large deep frying pan. Cook the aubergines for 5 minutes until starting to brown on all sides. Remove to a plate and leave to one side.
5. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil and add the chopped onion. Gently fry for 2-3 minutes then add the pepper and garlic. Continue to cook for 5 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
6. Return the aubergines to the pan.
7. Add the tinned tomatoes and cooked lentils. Add the tomato puree, cinnamon/ mixed spice, fresh parsley and black pepper. Simmer gently for 10 minutes.
8. To make the topping:
Place the milk, flour, butter/margarine together in a small saucepan and heat gently. Stir using a balloon whisk. As the sauce comes to simmering point it will start to thicken. Continue to whisk to prevent any lumps and cook the sauce for 2-3 minutes. You should end up with a smooth glossy white sauce.
Leave the sauce to cool for 5 minutes.
Whisk in the ricotta cheese followed by the beaten egg.
9. Transfer the lentil aubergine mixture to an ovenproof dish.
10. Pour over the ricotta cheese sauce and sprinkle over the parmesan cheese.
11. Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes until the top is bubbling and golden brown.
Serve with a simple green salad and new potatoes.
100g (4oz) puy or green lentils
2 cloves garlic
1 large red pepper
bunch of fresh parsley
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 can chopped tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon/ mixed spice
2 tablespoons tomato puree
black pepper, for seasoning
275ml (1/2 pint) semi-skimmed milk
25g plain flour (1.5 tablespoons)
25g butter or margarine (1 tablespoon)
250g tub ricotta cheese
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese